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The Diamond Top 300: DC and Marvel

A column article by: Ace Masters

 

The Diamond Top 300

DC and Marvel

 

This is not going to be a very long column. Why? Because if you are a comic book reader, there is one thing you know for sure: DC and Marvel dominate the comic book market. If for some reason, you don’t know or don’t believe this, the proof will follow.

Also, you may want to read a previous column which can serve as companion piece to this column: Research, Research, Research: The Direct Market Part Two.

An overview of the Diamond Top 300 touched upon what you can get from numbers. The last column, Volume Five of the Production Diary, showed how numbers can be used in production.

With this column we dive into the numbers themselves–focusing on DC and Marvel’s Diamond Sales Numbers–and will showcase just how much one can get out what seems like simple sales numbers. We will use the January 2012 Comic Book Sales Figures as reported by The Comics Chronicles.

January 2012 Comic Book Sales Figures

Top 25 Comics

#

Comic-book Title

Issue

Price

Publisher

Est. sales

1

Justice League

5

$3.99

DC

138,576

2

Batman

5

$2.99

DC

130,492

3

Action Comics

5

$3.99

DC

105,088

4

Detective Comics

5

$2.99

DC

99,342

5

Green Lantern

5

$2.99

DC

97,878

6

Batman The Dark Knight

5

$2.99

DC

76,824

7

Superman

5

$2.99

DC

73,719

8

Flash

5

$2.99

DC

71,611

9

Batman And Robin

5

$2.99

DC

65,507

10

Aquaman

5

$2.99

DC

65,094

11

Uncanny X-Men

5

$3.99

Marvel

63,477

12

Uncanny X-Men

4

$3.99

Marvel

63,175

13

Wolverine And X-Men

4

$3.99

Marvel

59,530

14

Wolverine

300

$4.99

Marvel

58,681

15

Avengers X-Sanction

2

$3.99

Marvel

58,578

16

Wonder Woman

5

$2.99

DC

57,626

17

Amazing Spider-Man

677

$3.99

Marvel

57,186

18

Avengers

21

$3.99

Marvel

54,803

19

Teen Titans

5

$2.99

DC

54,606

20

Amazing Spider-Man

678

$3.99

Marvel

54,252

21

Scarlet Spider

1

$3.99

Marvel

53,410

22

New Avengers

20

$3.99

Marvel

52,910

23

Avenging Spider-Man

3

$3.99

Marvel

52,371

24

Green Lantern New Guardians

5

$2.99

DC

52,305

25

 Batwoman

5

$2.99

DC

51,924

 

This is just a small sample, the top 25 selling titles for January. What can you garner from this beyond estimated sales? Just at a glance, anyone experienced with numbers can tell a number of things without even having to do the math.

DC and Marvel dominated the industry. DC clearly came out ahead of Marvel, sweeping the Top 10 slots and placing 14 titles in the Top 25, with the top 2 titles doubling Marvel‘s highest selling title. From this you can get an example of Sales, Market Share, etc.

But this is only a sample, and samples can often misleading. To really get accurate info, you have to look at the entire list of Marvel and DC titles in the Top 300 and this time DO the math. A glance won’t work.

You want to know the Items in Top 300, Share of Units in Top 300, Share of Dollars in Top 300. All are valuable and need to know info.

Fortunately we can cheat here thanks to John Jackson Miller of The Comics Chronicles. He’s already done all the work:

January 2012

Items in Top 300

DC84
Marvel80

 

Share of Units in Top 300

DC42.63%
Marvel39.17%

Share of Dollars in Top 300

Marvel41.98%
DC38.91%

 

Take a good look. See what you can get out of simple numbers? It also shows that doing a quick sampling can be misleading. Our above sample of the Top 25 would show DC far and ahead; yet covering the entire spectrum shows a slightly different story, with Marvel coming out on top in the most important category: Share of Dollars.

In the end, who makes the most money wins.

Other info that can be gleamed from the Top 300--as mentioned before--is Genre, Popularity, In the Hole.

Genre: Marvel and DC are super-hero powered of course, but they do dip into other genres. For example, Marvel currently adapts Orson Scott Card’s Ender Novels and Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. The biggest selling of which in January was Dark Tower Gunslinger Way Station with 14,827 estimate sales, for slot 123, obviously not as popular as the super-hero genre.

For DC a non-super-hero book is Fables with 17,588 estimated sales for slot 107.

If you continue down the list, you can figure out for yourself how other genres sell for Marvel and DC.

Popularity: For Marvel and DC this is easy, their most popular titles are the best selling; just see the top 25 listed above.

In The Hole: Even Marvel and DC have titles that don’t sell well. Start at the bottom of the Top 300 and work your way up. Take into consideration what titles are re-orders and what are first orders. Plus, keep in mind that the ‘kiddie’ titles can get away with lower sales.

Even if the odds of getting to the level of Marvel and DC are beyond astronomical, you still need to study these numbers. You need to understand the market as a whole. Including areas of the market you may never compete in.

Yet, this covers only Marvel and DC, and that makes it only a sampling, and as we have found sampling can be misleading. If you look strictly at these numbers, one might never even try their hands at comics. But there is hope . . .

The ‘Over 1% Market Share.’ Who has more than a 1% market share? Who is actually making money? That will be covered in the next column.

Ace. 

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